38 F&B Event Questions to Get You Thinking from Landscapes Golf Management


By Terry O’Connell, Contributing Column

Do you think you know how to properly sell and execute food-and-beverage for golf outings, tournaments, weddings, banquets and other special events?  Are your best practices really optimizing monetization?  Could they be enhanced?

In the name of internal teamwork, is the flow of information about event strategy and details streamlined to produce well-managed events?  Is staff working in a vacuum or is there consistent inter-departmental communication to execute flawless events which meet client and business objectives?  When, for example, based on historical data, are the best and worst times to schedule outings and tournaments?  Ever think about instituting surcharges?

Bottom line, are you selling profitable events?  Do you have separate packets for outings, meetings, weddings and other special occasions?  Are your packets “costed out?”  How often do your managers go “off script” when selling an event or is pricing automated based on algorithmic software?

Have you kept in mind the example of a keg of Bud Light costing $57.10 in 1997, $85.10 in 2010, $107 in 2017 and $118 in 2022?  Have you realized, without questioning it, that your Starbucks latte increases by 25 cents or more annually?

As such, have you rightfully eliminated your concern about raising prices year-over-year without apology?  How does your team determine when and, scientifically, how much?

Have you done the math in the back office before setting forth an event program to a prospective client?  For example, have you accurately priced a wine dinner, assuming it’s sold out for 25 people at $55 per person, including wine and a coursed meal?  In this scenario, did you realize that $750 in food and $620 in wine expenses equals a cost of goods of 100%?

Do guest-player counts include volunteers and administration?  Does the dollar amount charged include tax and service charge?  When was the last time you talked as a group on the effectiveness of your banquet-event orders and the process of how they are constructed?  How do we handle last minute events?

How deeply have you delved into billing and cash management?  When do events hit the point of sale?  When are event payments due?  When are the final counts due?  Who on staff is responsible for billing and collecting payment?  Sound familiar with respect to misfiring on timing of money spent and money received – cash flow! – to produce events?

Have you forgotten that members sponsoring events require contracts, too?  Did you include preliminary, secondary and final counts; a cost addendum; a cancelation-reschedule policy; inflation protection; indemnification; linen, napkin, chair covers and other costs of special accoutrements; menu decisions; service charges; bartender fees; deposit-payment terms; and more details?

How many times have you said to yourself and teams: “I missed accounting for this event element and, therefore, ate the bill?  Or “I didn’t anticipate the price of beef rising so substantially?”  Or “I cut a sweetheart deal to fill the golf course without comparing how much money I would’ve generated from daily fee play?” Or, “I overstaffed this event and reduced my net gain?”

In all, how do you have the right systems in place to know and ensure events are money-making propositions?

Did you know these questions are courtesy of Adam Brandow, Food and Beverage Operations Manager for Landscapes Golf Management?  Did you know he thinks, day and night, about how golf courses, country clubs and resorts in his company’s portfolio turn F&B event profit, not render it a mere amenity and, therefore, leave low-hanging money on the table?  Can he help you answer questions specific to your unique facility?


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** The views and opinions featured in Golf Business WEEKLY are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the NGCOA.**